Just in Time for Pi Day (3/14), a Work of Literature Based on the Digits of Pi

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"Not A Wake", a new collection of poems and short stories by Mike Keith, is written entirely in a special form known as “Pilish”, where the length of each word follows the digits of pi (=3.14159265...). Its publication is just in time for readers to enjoy on Pi Day, March 14 (3/14).

“Not A Wake” is a new book of poetry and prose by Mike Keith with a unique twist: counting the number of letters in each word of the book reveals the digits of the famous mathematical number pi. Released just in time for Pi Day (March 14, or 3/14 - get it?), this is the perfect book for fans of pi, wordplay, or experimental writing.

Have you ever heard someone at the deli ask “Can I have a large container of potato salad?” If so then you have encountered the dialect known as Pilish, where the number of letters in each word reveals the initial digits of the number pi (3.14159265...). Mathematician and writer Mike Keith has taken this idea to dizzying heights in his new book “Not A Wake”, a fascinating collection of poems, short stories, and other surprises that faithfully follows the first 10,000 digits of pi.

“It all started in the 1970’s,” says Keith, “when I first encountered pi writing, which was usually just a sentence or two in length. Since the digits of the number pi go on forever, it seemed reasonable to try going further. ‘Not A Wake’ is the latest in a series of obsessions with this form.”

Writing of this kind, where letters or words are restricted in a certain way, is common enough to be its own genre, known as “constrained writing”. Authors have written entire books without the letter E, or books with no commas. In “Not A Wake” the pi constraint is applied to a wide variety of forms: stories, different types of poems, a one-act play, crossword puzzles (with clues in Pilish), and even a complete screenplay for a short film about vampires. “People ask if I wrote that part to try and cash in on the current vampire craze,” says Keith. “I tell them no - the digits made me do it.”

For more information on “Not A Wake”, including samples to read, visit http://www.cadaeic.net/notawake.

Mike Keith is an American mathematician, computer scientist, and writer. His constrained writing has appeared in magazines such as Word Ways and the online literary journal Farrago’s Wainscot. Keith is the co-author of another seminal book of constrained writing, “The Anagrammed Bible”. Mike's website is http://www.cadaeic.net.

Media inquiries: email Mike Keith at "mike at cadaeic.net".

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Mike Keith

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